What is Golytely?

What is Golytely?

As a bowel-cleansing agent, Golytely has become increasingly popular for patients undergoing colonoscopy procedures. Despite its effectiveness, however, it’s important to be aware of its uses, benefits, and risks. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Golytely, providing all the information you need to know before using it.

What is Golytely?

Doctors use Golytely, a type of polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution, for bowel cleansing before medical procedures such as colonoscopies. It works by inducing diarrhea, which helps to clear out the colon completely. The solution is a combination of different ingredients, including polyethylene glycol, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and sodium sulfate.

How Does Golytely Work?

Golytely works by drawing water into the colon and increasing the volume of liquid in the intestines. The increased volume of liquid helps to stimulate bowel movements and eventually leads to diarrhea. As a result of using Golytely, the colon is thoroughly cleansed, which allows for a clearer view during colonoscopy procedures.

Uses of Golytely

Doctors primarily use Golytely as a bowel-cleansing agent before colonoscopy procedures. Doctors may also use Golytely before other medical procedures, such as barium enema or surgery, which require a clear view of the colon.

Benefits of Golytely

The primary benefit of Golytely is that it’s a highly effective bowel-cleansing agent that can thoroughly cleanse the colon before medical procedures. This allows doctors to get a clearer view of the colon and detect any abnormalities, such as polyps or tumors.

Risks and Side Effects of Golytely

Like any medication, Golytely comes with some risks and potential side effects. Some of the most common side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. In rare cases, Golytely can cause more serious side effects, such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and kidney problems.

How to Take Golytely

Patients typically take Golytely the day before a medical procedure.  Instruct patients to avoid solid foods and consume only clear liquids, such as water, broth, and apple juice. Patients will need to consume a large volume of Golytely solution, usually around 4 liters, over several hours. It’s important to follow the exact instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist when taking Golytely.

Precautions Before Taking Golytely

Before taking Golytely, it’s important to inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have, such as kidney disease, congestive heart failure, or electrolyte imbalances. Golytely may not be appropriate for patients with certain medical conditions. Additionally, patients should inform their doctor of any medications they’re taking, as some medications can interact with Golytely.

Alternatives to Golytely

While Golytely is one of the most commonly used bowel-cleansing agents, there are alternative options available. Some patients may prefer different Golytely

  • Suprep: A similar bowel-cleansing agent that comes in a smaller volume, making it easier to consume for some patients.
  • Miralax: A laxative that can be mixed with clear liquids and consumed before a medical procedure to cleanse the bowels.
  • Fleet enema: A saline solution that’s administered rectally to help cleanse the bowel.

It’s important to discuss the best bowel-cleansing agent for your specific medical situation with your doctor.


Doctors commonly use Golytely, a highly effective bowel-cleansing agent, before medical procedures like colonoscopies. While it’s generally safe, it’s important to be aware of its uses, benefits, and risks before using it. Patients should follow the instructions provided by their doctor or pharmacist closely and discuss any concerns or medical conditions before taking the solution.


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